James Suckling: 2015 SUPER STAR SUPER TUSCAN
This summer’s tasting in Italy was particularly hot for Super Tuscan reds. Not only was the weather boiling for most of July and August, but recent releases from the 2015 vintage were spectacular.
For now, what is on the market or soon to be released from top producers of Super Tuscan wines (I include Bolgheri, Suvereto and Cortona with Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) for the definition) is very exciting. The 2015 vintage was a warm and generous growing season and produced ripe and juicy grapes. Some producers say that the grapes lacked a touch of natural acidity and that the wines can be slightly too fruity in 2015, but I have not found that in my tasting of more than 450 different wines. The reds are generous and fruity yet maintain tannin tension and backbone.
Most of the 2014s released this year show evidence of the same problem as other wines from the vintage, namely a cool and rainy grape growing season. Even so, there are some outstanding wines all the same from winemakers who selected heavily and focused on quality.
Of course, even on the Tuscan coast, the superb 2015 vintage was really no comparison to 2014.
It’s hard to generalize about what grape types were better in 2015 as it seems everything was outstanding. It reminds me of the excellent 2007 vintage, which was a warm and beautiful grape growing season when everything from cabernet sauvignon to sangiovese were excellent. “It was a vintage in which you could pick when you wanted since the quality was fantastic for everything.” said Bibi Graetz, one of Tuscany’s best winemakers.
(An extract from the article "2015 SUPER STAR SUPER TUSCAN" published on www.jamessuckling.com on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, by James Suckling, Editor)
Ampeleia 2014 is one of the 450 Tuscan "super stars":
AMPELEIA COSTA TOSCANA 2014
Plenty of apricot, citrus fruit and dark berry. Hints of sandalwood. Medium body and integrated tannins with a polished texture. Drink now. Made from biodynamic grapes.
And all the other Ampeleia wines follow with their scores and tasting notes:
AMPELEIA COSTA TOSCANA UNLITRO 2016
A little lean but some attractive berry, cider and spice character. Medium to light body, firm and silky tannins and a crisp finish. Always fun. Drink now. Made from biodynamic grapes.
AMPELEIA CABERNET FRANC COSTA TOSCANA 2016
A tangy and fresh red with berry and cherry character and hints of bark. Medium body, firm tannins and a crisp finish. Drink now. Made from biodynamic grapes.
AMPELEIA CARIGNANO COSTA TOSCANA 2016
Carignan works in Tuscany. Plenty of dried apricot and dark berry character here with a green tea undertone. Medium to full body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh finish. Drink now. Made from biodynamic grapes.
AMPELEIA ALICANTE COSTA TOSCANA 2016
I have a soft spot for Alicante. This is fine and polished with bright acidity and a clean and beautiful finish. It's alll about drinkability here. Drink now. Made from biodynamic grapes.
AMPELEIA COSTA TOSCANA KEPOS 2015
I like the cool stone and dried flower undertones to the cherry and berry fruit character. Medium body, firm and silky tannins and a fresh finish. Drink now. Made from biodynamic grapes.